Founded in 2009, Singapore-based Knowlarity wants to transform the business to customer communication industry in the emerging markets with personalisation, automation, AI, and analytics. There are more than 15,000 companies using their services now, however, the initial phase of Knowlarity’s founder – Amabarish Gupta – started off pretty much like any other.
“The challenges end up being raising capital, finding out the correct team, keeping the team motivated, finding the first couple of customers, figuring out which product to invest your energy in, you know, all those difficult decisions that happen before you have product market fit. And we went through all of those challenges,” Amabarish says. However, he goes on to say that if you have a very good understanding of ‘why’ you want to start a company, you can always figure out the ‘how’.
To begin with, the market in 2009 was such that funding was hard to come by, hence Ambarish and team raised their initial capital from friends and family of around half-a-million dollars. In 2012, Knowlarity raised $6.6 Million in Series A funding from Sequoia Capital, followed by $16 Million in Series B round in 2014 from Sequoia Capital and Mayfield. In November 2016, they raised of $20 million in its Series C led by Dubai-based private equity firm Delta Partners – amounting to a total of $41 Million. Now, some of their key customers include big brand names like Google, Amazon, Uber, Practo, Ola, Zomato, Swiggy and more.
Knowlarity is the pioneer and leading provider of cloud-based communications solutions to businesses in the emerging markets. Their products and services are actively adopted by more than 2 million users and is the largest provider of such services.
The cloud-telephony company has received several awards and recognitions such as the Amazon Excellence Award, Silicon India Startup of the year, Nasscom Emerge 50 and more, from media and industry.
Knowlarity’s mantra is simply ‘customer focus’, “If the customer is successful then you get money, if the customer is not successful or the customer is not able to use your technology to get something out of it – then you fail.” He realizes that the employees are an important part of making that customer impact hence they try to align the interest of the company with their clientele so there’s a win-win on both sides and a sustainable way to carry on. Ambarish points out, “For us, employee happiness and employee excitement about themselves and about the company is very important.”
Their flagship product is ‘Super Receptionist’, a plug-and- play virtual contact center for a business. Knowlarity has grown from scratch to a global venture with 300+ employees, 1000 partners, and 8 offices in India, South East Asia, and the Middle East.
When it comes to selecting the right employees, Knowlarity is picky about whom they choose. Ambarish himself spends a lot of his time in this process as he interviews everyone – including interns. He says that it is a “very very rigorous test” adding, “I spend almost 30% of my time in doing recruitments.”
His advice is that one should not jump into starting a company thinking of being the boss, “That’s a misunderstanding that you are your own boss, everybody’s your boss”, Ambarish points out. Talking about sustaining as an entrepreneur he believes that you should ask yourself if you’re ready for a “long tiresome journey”, signing off he says, “Don’t do it because of peer group pressure, do it because you want it, then you will last.”